I have several unmarried Christian friends. A few are social butterflies and have a very active social life; others are more private and have one or two close friends. They are content in being alone.
Christian single women can really struggle with friendship relationships with both women and men. Many don’t know what a “good” friendship consists of or they have been hurt by someone they considered a friend. Does the Bible define friendship? Yes, it certainly does! All of our biblical relationships are initiated by God. He is the sovereign God of the universe and is in control and in charge of all aspects of human life. God is not only interested in who a marriage partner would be, but also in whom our friends are and how we relate to them.
Christians have the unique ability to love selflessly. Because of the love of Christ that is in our hearts we have been enabled to love as He loves us. It is because of His love we are drawn to people very different than ourselves and we form relationships with them in spite of those differences. Over time we begin to love the dimensions those differences bring into our lives.
The love of a friend is sacrificial. We see this displayed out over and over in the relationships Paul had with Timothy, John Mark, and the others who visited him in prison. They cared for him at their own risk. We also see this in the relationship between David and Jonathan, the son of Kind Saul. Jonathan put himself in between David and the King several times; protecting his life against his irrational father.
Jonathan and David also made a covenant with each other. They made an agreement with each other that they would love each other no matter what; that nothing would ever separate their love for each other. We tend to think of covenants with respect to marriage, but we can see from reading the story of these two godly men that friends can make covenants with each other too. It is certainly nothing to enter into lightly; we know how serious God takes the covenantal relationship. We are then bound to be that person’s friend for life.
Being this kind of friend is not easy! It demands you give access to the other person to all of your life. You willingly become accountable to them and are willing to hold your friend accountable as well. You support them, cherish them, and encourage them to grow and change in the process of sanctification. You walk with them through the hardships and trials of life laughing when they laugh and crying when they cry.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Prov. 17:17 (NASB)
This kind of friendship requires unconditional love.
Is it any wonder that in a world full of self-focused people all looking out for themselves that few ever find this kind of friendship? Many Christians are no better than the rest of the world.
I have seen envy and begrudging in singles whose friends who find love and marriage, and jealousy and envy of each other in other friendships.
This should not be. Friends love at all times, in all seasons, in all circumstances. As you evaluate your “friendships,” are you a faithful friend? Do you have a David or Jonathan in your life? Do you have a covenantal friendship with another person?
May I encourage you to be selfless and loving in your friendship relationships?